This cute little guy is a creature of many names! The 13-Lined Ground Squirrel is often called the Striped Gopher or the Leopard Ground Squirrel. A true hybernator, he is shown here within a couple weeks of entering his winter burrow. He is fattened up as much as possible to help him survive the cold winter, and has probably stored a small amount of food in his underground "house" as well. In October through December (depending on their location), Ground Squirrels everywhere are crawling into their burrows, curling up into a small ball, and looking very dead! Their breaths decrease from a very rapid 100-200/minute to a scant 1-2 breaths every five minutes! They will sleep through the cold winter this way, and only wake up enough to shiver (to increase body heat)! The great Creator designed nearly all animals with the ability to hibernate, though most do not. Chipmunks, some squirrels, groundhogs, and a few other mammals actually hibernate. Though bears are the most commonly-known "hibernators," they actually don't truly hibernate, but rather enter a deep torpor-like sleep, waking several times in the winter. It is interesting that almost all animals have the hibernating ability, though so few utilize it . . . perhaps this is how God kept them all alive while on Noah's ark? Science is still catching up to all the marvels God has created into his enormous variety of wildlife, and more is learned all the time. The good part is the fact that He has provided for their needs in a multitude of unique and amazing ways. A God so creative has no trouble making sure our own needs are met . . . after all, He takes care of this little guy! Hopefully, this particular Ground Squirrel will emerge from his winter home in late March or early April, a little thinner, but otherwise no worse for the long, cold winter! As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, keep the Ground Squirrel in mind as a reminder of Jehovah Jirah -- the God who Provides!